Why SMB Websites (Still) Matter: Building Consumer Trust Through Accuracy

Create Your Digital Footprint
March 24, 2019

Why SMB Websites (Still) Matter: Building Consumer Trust Through Accuracy

Small Business Websites

Not all trends are created equal.

That is, not all trends translate to consumer satisfaction — what consumers actually want, use, or, most importantly, trust.

Some local SEO analysts have concluded that, due to the growing prevalence of Google My Business ("an Internet-based service for business owners and operated by Google"), small or medium business websites — often referred to as "SMB" — are becoming irrelevant. After all, if one (Google My Business) is increasing in popularity, then the other (SMB) must be declining. This analysis, however, misses the most important factor: the consumer. 

Assuming there's demand for your product or service, the simple answer is that the consumer wants what you're offering. But there's an invisible element structuring this exchange: trust. The consumer must trust that you, the business, will supply what they want, what you're offering, in a way that leaves them satisfied. But the first step to gaining their trust is through accuracy.

Of course, all of this seems obvious. What could possibly be more true?

Well, let us return to the previous point: not all trends are created equal.

Despite the growth of Google My Business, a survey found that consumers think SMB websites are more accurate.

This leads us to a reasonable conclusion: if they find those websites more accurate, that means they trust the information on those websites more than what Google My Business provides.

Jamie Pitman of BrightLocal makes an excellent case for why businesses still need a website despite the rising trend of Google My Business.

Pitman writes:

"If you’re on the fence about having a website built for your local business, it’s easy to read ...  that there’s very little point. However, there are a multitude of reasons why every small business should have its own website, regardless of its Google My Business listing ..."
Consumer Survey

Survey and image by BrightLocal.

Pitman goes on to list several reasons to support his assertion:

It's important for local SEO; it is expected from consumers; it's necessary for link building; website content improves relevance and links; websites are essential for brand building; finally, and most importantly, websites are an important tool for customer service.

That last point is the point. As I have already mentioned twice in this post, some trends, despite their rise in popularity, neglect that which keeps customers as customers and not just curious searchers treating your Google My Business listing like they're digitally window-shopping.

In other words, if they're looking for hours, contact information, etc., and they only see a Google My Business listing, they're not likely to trust the information they provide — or, at the very least, they suspect the information listed is inaccurate.

And there's plenty of reason why it might not be, including competitors or spammers in general editing/changing your listing on Google My Business.

Treating your website like a home base means customers won't be confused on how to best reach you. You can direct them to you — well, directly — through your website.

Moreover, customers trust (your) website's accuracy: hours, contact information, phone number, location, etc. Aside from your product, this is what your customer is looking for, what they need to know. This type of information can get botched when listed on Google My Business, whereas, on your website, it's your digital storefront; it is yours. It follows logically, then, why a consumer would trust you more than your listing: the assumption is that, if it's your website, the information listed would be the most accurate.

This brings us to another important point: your website itself. Given the importance of a website, despite the GMB trend, your website itself needs to be strong, clean, easy to navigate, not have long load-times — in short, it needs to look, feel and be professional in order for the customer to think of you professionally.

This itself strengthens the importance of working with a professional digital advertising agency. They know what consumers want when it comes to websites, and, moreover, they know how to build a website that delivers.

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